Does Firearms Instructor Equal Church Security Instructor?

At the time of this writing, we are just a few days removed from the church shooting incident in White Settlement, TX. Google will get you all of the details, but the short story is that a firearms instructor serving as a member of the church’s security team took out the murderer.

Caveat emptor.

I submit that the mission encompasses much more than shooting skills. Furthermore, firearms instructor certification programs are not created equally. The NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course, for example, does not even involve drawing a pistol from a holster.

In considering a training source for a church security program, training and experience in the following areas are something you should look for in the prospective provider’s background:

  • Event security & planning
  • Physical security
  • Threat assessment
  • Crowd dynamics

All of the above in a church environment would be a plus.

Two sources that readily come to mind for such training are Palisade Training Group, LLC, and Strategos International. Both of these companies were offering church security detail training before it became an opportunistic topic.


Noted trainer Dave Spaulding of Handgun Combatives read this piece and offered some worthy commentary that I am adding below:

Chief Lee Weems makes an excellent point here, does a firearms instructor equal a church security instructor? The answer is, it depends. It depends on the DEPTH of the instructors back ground.

I consider myself a firearms instructor, but I am capable of much more. If you consider what goes into a truly prepared church security team member, it is SO MUCH more than just having a gun. This person’s skill sets should include:

– Pre threat identification
– Pattern recognition
– Medical Skills
– Non-verbal communication including hand signals
– Electronic communication (including capability)
– Movement to the threat including evasive movement
– Movement during engagement
– Weapons manipulation skills including muzzle aversion
– Concealed draw and precision shooting skills
– Elimination of cross fire situations (more movement)
– Non threat awareness capability (non hostiles/scanning)

and on and on…

It is much like Dignitary Protection Operations, something I have extensive experience in. You see, I have further training and experience…”depth” as it were…in related fields. I can also teach carbine, sub-machine gun, shotgun, room clearing (CQB), OC Spray, multiple baton disciplines, combative mindset, weapon retention, SWAT Principals, Raid Techniques, Vehicle Combat and other related subjects. I can even do a fairly good job with basic hand to hand combat, but others do it better…which is the case with many subjects. I have the “depth” for many things…

“Dave! These are great topics, why don’t you offer classes in them?” The answer is simple…I don’t want to. Leaving specialize subjects like church security to others makes more room for folks who want to get into the training business. I like to focus on combative pistolcraft…the EDC, personal security application of the handgun. While it is not the most effective small arm, it is the one that most everyone can…and should have…with them at all times. The combat application of the handgun IS SO MUCH MORE than just accurate shooting. Watching many of the videos on line make me question just hw many people grasp this fact.

And you know what? I’m going to be a bit arrogant here, but I do it really, really well!

“Depth” is important when teaching life saving skills and I believe taking another instructor’s course and recycling the information into your course is not enough. Some would call it plagiarism. You need to truly understand the application of the skills and actually having applied them in the real world certainly would not hurt. It offers perspective…